Women’s Six Nations 2024: John Mitchell says England have the players to play ‘three different types of game’

With 94 points scored in their opening two games of the Women’s Six Nations, England are well and truly up and running under John Mitchell, reports BBC Sport.

And the good news for Red Roses fans is he is only just getting started.

On Saturday, Mitchell’s side scored eight tries to hammer Wales 46-10 at Ashton Gate in front of 19,705 fans – a record crowd for a home Red Roses game outside of Twickenham.

But it was their strength in depth which will surely be most pleasing to Mitchell.

The New Zealander has been open about giving players opportunities to impress before a home World Cup in 2025, and seven changes to his side from the victory over Italy showed just that.

It also underlined Mitchell was right to say his team can play “three different types of game”, with personnel for every occasion.

In the backs, a fresh centre combination of Tatyana Heard and Megan Jones brought a nice balance of power and speed.

“They were very dynamic and were really troubling the Welsh defensive line, popping up everywhere,” former Wales captain Philippa Tuttiett told BBC’s Rugby Union Daily.

“If they are talking about this fast-paced rugby then they should only play players who are able to identify gaps and exploit them.”

Before the game, Mitchell said he saw Emily Scarratt as an inside centre, despite her having spent the majority of her career at outside centre.

Helena Rowland started in the 13 shirt against Italy, but a tournament-ending injury opened the door for Jones to show Mitchell she can play his fast-tempo attacking game.

“Whenever we get turnover ball, I try and get my hands on the ball as much as I can,” she told BBC Sport. “I love unstructured play – that’s where I thrive.”

The 27-year-old was a threat throughout the game with her sharp footwork, smart kicking and ball-playing skills, even showing confidence to a break from her 22 to set up England’s third try.

“Meg Jones can create something out of nothing with her pace off the mark,” 2014 World Cup winner Kat Merchant told BBC’s BBC’s Rugby Union Daily.

But it is not just in the centres where the Red Roses are struggling to fit all their talent.

Lock Rosie Galligan was named player of the match for her all-action display in disrupting the Wales line-out before grabbing a try.

“She was everywhere. Every time you looked up she was doing something, and she is one of those players who doesn’t just do the flashy stuff but the hard graft as well,” Merchant added.

Her second-row partner Zoe Aldcroft, who won her 50th cap, also scored, before the experienced Abbie Ward came on as a replacement as she continued her returned to international rugby after giving birth in July.

Elsewhere, fly-half Holly Aitchison responded positively to Zoe Harrison’s performance in Parma, and replacement hooker Connie Powell made several eye-catching runs in an impactful second-half display.

Powell was promoted to the bench in the absence of regular starting hooker Amy Cokayne, and the 23-year-old is another player thriving under Mitchell’s guidance.

“We continue creating competition in the group, which is lucky from my point of view and makes my life difficult for selection,” Mitchell added.

A third successive Grand Slam and sixth Six Nations title in a row are already on the cards, but that strength in depth will stand them in good stead for the future.